Dr James Edwards

Dr James Edwards

Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences - Microbiology (Education)

Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)


Lecturer in Biomedical Science - Microbiology (Education)


I joined Peninsula Medical School as a Lecturer in Biomedical Science in 2013. I previously worked as a research scientist and Teaching Fellow at the University of York. I have worked on a variety of research projects, both in industry and academia, with the most recent studying respiratory processes and growth physiology in pathogenic bacteria. At York I taught on a number of biochemistry modules and supervised undergraduate project students. At Plymouth, my position allows me to focus on teaching our undergraduate medicine and postgraduate physician associate students about various topics in microbiology and treatment of infectious disease. Occasionally I work with other groups of students too. 


BSc (Hons) Microbiology, University of Surrey, 2002

Ph.D, Department of Biology, University of York, 2006

PGCAP, University of Plymouth, 2014

Twitter: @pupsmd_micro

Professional membership

Member of the Microbiology Society

Member of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease

Member of the Society for Applied Microbiology

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Roles on external bodies

I co-organised the Microbiology Society 'Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education' symposium at the 2019 conference:


I am involved in planning the 2020 conference along with colleagues from other institutions.

Teaching interests

I have teaching interests in medical microbiology, antibiotics, antibiotic resistance and molecular biology. I deliver lectures, year 1 & 2 life science resource centre sessions (small group teaching) and year 3 and 4 teaching in support of these areas.  

Within the department I have several roles:

  • Academic lead for microbiology (Peninsula Medical School)
  • Infection and Immunity theme lead MSc Physician Associate studies
  • Module lead for Foundations in Clinical Medicine (MSc Physician Associate Studies) 
  • Academic tutor BMBS year 1 & 2, MSc Physician Associate studies year 1
  • Pastoral tutor
  • EBL facilitator (BMBS year 1)
  • Co-lead for the year 2 & 3 SSU 'Doctor as Educator' with Dr. Karen Johnstone 
  • SSC1 assessment lead
  • SSU provider for year 1 and 2 BMBS 
  • I also help organise events as part of our Division of Educational Scholarship with Dr Tracey Collett and Dr Helen Watson

Research interests

Microbiology in HE

I am particularly interested in how microbiology is taught nationally, both in science and healthcare curricula. I am interested in identifying difficult to understand topics within microbiology and tailoring teaching to address these areas.

Student led mentoring

I am interested in student mentoring, particularly with supporting students to become peer-peer or near-peer mentors.

Currently, we have a mentoring scheme looking at pairing our 5th year and 1st year students. I have been awarded a grant to evaluate this scheme. 

Previous interests: 

Although not currently active in the laboratory, I still retain an interest in the growth physiology of bacterial pathogens, how they respire and how they regulate the transcription of respiratory genes.

I have used in vitro and in vivo approaches in the past to investigate this, including gene cloning, protein over-expression and purification, DNA binding assays, gene knock-outs and reporter gene fusions.

I am also interested in how microorganisms respond to environmental pollutants and in detoxification of the environment.

Internally I have acted as an adviser to PhD candidates. 

Key publications are highlighted

Aas FE, Li X, Edwards J, Hongrø Solbakken M, Deeudom M, Vik Å, Moir J, Koomey M & Aspholm M 2014 'Cytochromec-based domain modularity governs genus-level diversification of electron transfer to dissimilatory nitrite reduction' Environmental Microbiology 17, (6) 2114-2132 , DOI
Catenazzi MCE, Jones H, Wallace I, Clifton J, Chong JPJ, Jackson MA, Macdonald S, Edwards J & Moir JWB 2014 'A large genomic island allowsNeisseria meningitidisto utilize propionic acid, with implications for colonization of the human nasopharynx' Molecular Microbiology 93, (2) 346-355 , DOI
Edwards J, Quinn D, Rowbottom K-A, Whittingham JL, Thomson MJ & Moir JWB 2012 'Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae are differently adapted in the regulation of denitrification: single nucleotide polymorphisms that enable species-specific tuning of the aerobic–anaerobic switch' Biochemical Journal 445, (1) 69-79 , DOI
Rylott EL, Jackson RG, Sabbadin F, Seth-Smith HMB, Edwards J, Chong CS, Strand SE, Grogan G & Bruce NC 2011 'The explosive-degrading cytochrome P450 XplA: biochemistry, structural features and prospects for bioremediation' Biochim Biophys Acta 1814, (1) 230-236 Author Site , DOI
Edwards J, Cole LJ, Green JB, Thomson MJ, Wood AJ, Whittingham JL & Moir JWB 2010 'Binding to DNA ProtectsNeisseria meningitidisFumarate and Nitrate Reductase Regulator (FNR) from Oxygen' Journal of Biological Chemistry 285, (2) 1105-1112 , DOI
Seth-Smith HMB, Edwards J, Rosser SJ, Rathbone DA & Bruce NC 2008 'The Explosive-Degrading Cytochrome P450 System Is Highly Conserved among Strains of Rhodococcus spp' Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74, (14) 4550-4552 , DOI
Rylott EL, Jackson RG, Edwards J, Womack GL, Seth-Smith HMB, Rathbone DA, Strand SE & Bruce NC 2006 'An explosive-degrading cytochrome P450 activity and its targeted application for the phytoremediation of RDX' Nat Biotechnol 24, (2) 216-219 Author Site , DOI
Conference Papers
Edwards J 2018 'Towards a core set of microbiology teaching and learning concepts for UK medical students' Microbiology Society annual conference Birmingham, UK 10/04/2018 13/04/2018
Edwards J, Beltechi A & Gray C 2018 '’Disease of the returning traveller’ - a flipped classroom approach to tropical medicine teaching in a UK undergraduate medical curriculum' Microbiology Society Birmingham, UK 09/04/2018 13/04/2018
Edwards J, Elbeltagi A, Parkes I, Ridha M & Johnstone K 2018 'Medical student authored microbiology learning resources' Microbiology Society Birmingham, UK 09/04/2018 13/04/2018
Hirst G, Edwards J & Beltechi A 2016 '‘Playing your drugs right: Gamification of antibiotic teaching’' Association of Medical Educators in Europe Barcelona, Spain
Cripps A, Hart R, Edwards J, Zahra D & Chatterjee A 2016 'Personalised recall app for enhancing medical knowledge retention: A pilot study' The Association for Study of Medical Education Annual Conference. Belfast
Hill A, Edwards J & Khalil H 2015 'A novel staff - student partnership promoting biomedical-clinical science integration within an undergraduate medical program' International Association of Medical Science Educators San Diego, CA, USA 14/06/2015 17/06/2015